Past Event

Misallocation, Social Institutions and Economic Growth in Mexico

April 7, 2021
2:15 PM - 3:45 PM
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Join the Center on Global Economic Governance and the MPA in Economic Policy Management for our next lecture in the series: The World Economy: Views of Chief Economists presenting world-renowned economists from the private and public sector to discuss current global economic challenges and their perspectives of the future.

Lecture: Misallocation, Social Institutions and Economic Growth in Mexico

Featuring: Santiago Levy, Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution and former Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank

Moderated by Jan Svejnar, James T. Shotwell Professor of Global Political Economy; Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance, Columbia SIPA

Mexico is a paradox: for over two decades it has successfully integrated into the world economy, has enjoyed macro stability, has invested in physical and human capital, but has not grown. During this event, Santiago Levy will discuss how outdated social institutions, deeply rooted in the country's history and ideology, generate large misallocation of resources that suppress productivity growth.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021
2:10 - 3:40pm
Via Zoom
Advance registration required. Registrants will be sent a Zoom link prior to the event.


Santiago Levy is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution and president of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association. From 2008 to 2018 he was the Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge at the Inter-American Development Bank. From 1994 to 2000, he served as the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit of Mexico. 

At the Ministry of Finance he was the main architect of Progresa-Oportunidades, Mexico’s incentive-based health, nutrition and education program for the poor; managed the transition from generalized to targeted subsidies; promoted legal reforms to decentralize resources to states and municipalities; participated in the change of the pay-as-you-go to the capitalized pension system; promoted a regional plan to develop Mexico’s southern region; and drafted and negotiated six budgets with the Federal Congress. At the Social Security Institute he promoted legal changes to reform pensions and extend coverage to rural workers; was responsible for the provision of health services to 45 million people, introducing preventive health programs and electronic medical records; managed pensions for 2.5 million people and day-care centers for 230,000 children; managed $8 billion in reserves; and collected annually $20 billion in social security contributions. In 1993 he lead the work to draft Mexico’s first anti-trust legislation to regulate mergers and punish anticompetitive business practices, and served as the first president of the Federal Competition Commission.

Mr. Levy has published six books, 24 articles in academic journals and 20 book chapters on economic growth and productivity, social policy, informality, education, budgetary and tax policy, trade policy reform, rural and regional development, competition policy, labor markets, and policies for poverty alleviation. His latest book on economic growth in Mexico, “Under-Rewarded Efforts, The Elusive Quest for Prosperity in Mexico” was published in 2018 by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Contact Information

Center on Global Economic Governance